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Things I Wish I Knew Before Graduating


On the run-up to finishing university and handing in my final major project, I found myself feeling increasingly stressed and overwhelmed. Thoughts of ‘what next?’ and ‘where do I go from here?’ crept in regularly and I realised that graduation was fast approaching and I really had no idea what direction I wanted to go in.

Conversations with many of my peers, who seemingly had their lives figured out, ultimately lead to more stresses and I found myself applying for any job without real consideration.

This was a feeling I was so unprepared for. I thought by the time I had completed my 3-year undergrad course I would have it all figured out- but that was most definitely not the case.

However; I graduated last year with a 2:1 in Fashion Management and Communication. I had no plans and no real idea of what I wanted to do.


@freyaa_h

After a few weeks of feeling a little lost and adjusting to this massive change, I soon realised that:

1. Although it is a stressful and confusing time, not knowing what to do or not getting your dream job straight away is not the be-all and end-all. You are still so young, with so much more to experience and you will figure it out, but in the meantime don’t stress about things or situations you have no control over.

2. There will be big changes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Leaving education is probably one of the biggest changes we go through but it’s inevitable. So learn to accept and embrace the shift and don’t view this change too negatively.

3. You won’t lose your friends, you may move in different directions and might not see each other as often but that’s just a part of growing up and moving on. Accept it for what it is and enjoy the times you do spend together
4. Moving back home isn’t the end of the world. This was something I thought I’d never adjust to after having my own space for 3 years. Admittedly it took a bit of getting used to but I’ve found it so beneficial in helping save up for the future.

5. Stay positive- always! This can apply to a few things but it can be so disheartening getting rejected from a job you really wanted or feeling unsure about your future but keeping a positive mindset and staying proactive in job searches is something I’ve found so important, don’t let rejection (or fear of it) put you off. 

These are just a few tips that I would pass on to future graduates and what I would’ve liked to have heard before I graduated myself.


Image @newgraduate
 
I know that I’m not the only one affected by grad blues and so this post felt like a great opportunity to include some wise words from ex-students and their top tips to graduating and heading into the ‘real world’:


@katherineneeson

What plans (if any) did you have in place before you graduated?
No plans, graduation was the plan. I wish I'd planned to have more fun.

What advice would you give to those who will be graduating soon?
Play the 'I'm a student' card for as long as poss.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt since graduating?
There’s a giant big world outside of what you know and think. Go explore it and it puts things into perspective massively!

What advice would you give to those who will be graduating soon? 
Don't be too hard on yourself, after graduating it took me 3 months to find my ideal job

What’s the biggest lesson you've learnt since graduating?
That a degree alone isn't enough, experience is key and I feel that isn't expressed


@claudi.van

What plans (if any) did you have in place before you graduated?
To become a teacher

What advice would you give to those who will be graduating soon?
Don't rush it and compare yourself to other students!!! It's your degree, not theirs!

What’s the biggest lesson you've learnt since graduating? 
Don't let anybody stop you! I was told I'd never graduate, and ended up with a first-class!


@anika2798

What plans (if any) did you have in place before you graduated?
I wanted to do a masters because it helps if you want a career in science

What advice would you give to those who will be graduating soon?
Look at all the possible options because you might be surprised by what you find

What’s the biggest lesson you've learnt since graduating? 
Whatever you do now, trust in it as it'll help you mature and progress as a person


@darceymccarthygregory

What plans (if any) did you have in place before you graduated?
I had an internship planned for summer, but after that was finished, nothing was planned!

What advice would you give to those who will be graduating soon?
To not compare what they are doing to others! Travel, work, masters, do what makes you happy

What’s the biggest lesson you've learnt since graduating?
That things don't always go to plan, but in the end everything works itself out!


@callummatthews18

What advice would you give to those who will be graduating soon?
Don’t just jump into the first job that comes up, consider if it’s right/ has promotion opportunities

What’s the biggest lesson you've learnt since graduating?
That uni literally doesn’t matter once you’re in. It’s about what you do once you’re in.


@lucy_dunkley

What plans (if any) did you have in place before you graduated?
None, I expected to find a job in the fashion industry a lot easier than it is!

What advice would you give to those who will be graduating soon?
If you haven’t already, get a placement/ internship and gain as much experience as possible!

What’s the biggest lesson you've learnt since graduating?
Grad-blues are real and if you haven’t worked for free for experience, you ain’t getting a job!

I’ll be honest and say that after uni isn’t always plane sailing. Graduate blues are tough and I don’t think anyone is ever really prepared for it-but you are most definitely not alone!!

I wanted to write this post to highlight some of the more positive and exciting things that come after graduation and to assure anyone fearing the ‘real world’ that it is ok and you’ll find your feet, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. 


Image: @freeda_en

I now work full time and write the Maison De Choup blog on the side. I still don’t have a definite answer for what I’d like to do for my career but I’ve learnt that that’s okay and there’s really no point rushing into a job you’ll hate, or forcing a career you’re not certain on. Take time to consider your options and don’t focus on what others are doing, it’s your life, not theirs. 

You’ve got this- Freya x

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Written by Freya Howie, University Graduate and Maison de Choup Contributor.

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